Saturday, November 10, 2007

1415 – 1435 Early Burgundian School

1415         The Battle of Agincourt; the English occupied France
1415-22     English occupation; England and Burgundy allies
1419-67     Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy
1431         Joan of Arc executed




The Burgundian school is defined by the political/artistic patronage of the Duke of Burgundy. Centered in Dijon, the Duchy included eastern France, Belgium and the Netherlands. Composers connected to the court included Vide, Grenon, Binchois, Dufay, Morton and Ghizeghem. They developed a new style of music strongly influenced by the English school of Dunstable and characterized by triadic harmony and lyrical expression.




The polyphonic Ordinary in a standard three-part texture first became an important form in this generation. The English used the tenor cantus firmus, as in Leonel Power's (d. 1445) Missa super Alma redemptoris mater (after 1400).


The French cycles were freely composed, as in the first three settings of Guillaume Dufay (c. 1400-74) and also Arnold de Lantins. Dufay's Missa Sancti Jacobi (c. 1528) introduced fauxbourdon, parallel sixth chords with the melody above.




There were two types:

(1) the increasingly grand and formal isorhythmic motet, and

(2) the free motet which was first composed by Johannes Ciconia (c. 1340-1411) around 1406. Virtually indistinguishable from a hymn, it had Latin text in the upper voices, treble melody in homophonic cantilena style, full triadic harmony and no cantus firmus. A new cadence formula included an octave leap in the contratenor.


Composers were John Dunstable (c. 1370-1453) and Dufay.



In complete contrast to the mannerists the Burgundians composed a lyrically expressive melody with uncomplicated accompaniment in the major mode, by Jacques Vide (fl. 1423-33), Nicolas Grenon (fl. 1385-1449) and Dufay.




Oswald von Wolkenstein (1377-1445).

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